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Tough start for Sailors

Newport Harbor, which lost eight starters to graduation, drops season-opener to Beckman.

March 04, 2011|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza, david.carrillo@latimes.com
(Don Leach / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The same three geese that Coach Patrick Murphy has seen land on the Newport Harbor High outfield appeared again.

This time, the Sailors were playing a baseball game and not practicing.

In a matter of minutes, the geese had the entire field to themselves. The umpires called the Sailors' season opener Friday in the top of the seventh inning because of darkness.

Newport Harbor did not bat in the bottom half of the final inning and there was hardly a reason to because Beckman was on its way to winning. The Patriots picked up an 11-4 victory in a pool-play game in the Newport Elks Tournament Foothill Division.

Newport Harbor is off to a different start compared to last season. The Sailors won their first nine games, which included five in the tournament that they won last year.

They are different team this year. Young and inexperienced is how Murphy describes his players.

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Beckman starter James Kaprielian took advantage of the Newport Harbor lineup, striking out five in five innings to earn the win. Kaprielian did not drop a game all of last season, when the Patriots finished 27-2, won the Pacific Coast League title and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.

But Newport Harbor had the junior right-hander on the ropes in the first inning. With one out, the Sailors loaded the bases.

Kaprielian got out of the inning only giving up one run. He used his slider to get out of trouble.

"We had an opportunity to score right there and kind of put them on their heels, and we didn't come through," Murphy said.

The missed opportunity was the first of a couple in the first two innings for Newport Harbor. It might take time for the Sailors to return to their form of last season, when they reached the postseason for the first time in 20 years.

Newport Harbor lost eight starters to graduation and the program missed their experience Friday.

Getting only one run across when they had three runners in scoring position in the first two innings hurt the Sailors. Teams are going to pitch around the team's slugger, Matt Carpenter.

Kaprielian went after the youngsters. He walked Carpenter in the first inning, getting to Patrick Overstreet. In six pitches, Kaprielian struck out the sophomore. Overstreet went down swinging on a breaking ball.

Murphy said he expects Overstreet to make pitchers pay for avoiding Carpenter, who homered eight times last year as a sophomore. The clean-up hitter did not get much to hit, walking twice.

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